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Three takeaways from the NPFL weekend

With four rounds of Nigeria Professional Football League matches left, Remo Stars were officially confirmed as the first club to be relegated this season.

Defending champions Rangers, who have struggled this campaign, improved their chances of survival, and FC Ifeanyi Ubah found themselves in a spot of travel bother.

Here then, are three takeaways from this past weekend's NPFL action ...


PLATEAU UNITED GET ONE FOOT IN THE DOOR
This was set to be the game that all but handed Plateau United the title. Second-placed MFM FC came visiting with a three-point deficit, and needed a win to keep the fight going.

That was always going to be difficult in the best of circumstances, but the weather conspired to reduce the game to 'hoofball,' the very opposite of MFM's possession-based style.

Ibeh Johnson found the net for Plateau after just three minutes, and that was all she wrote. As the weather turned from bad to atrocious, football became even more difficult to play and United hung on for the 1-0 win.

Both sides were hit by absences, having contributed players to Nigeria's CHAN squad. Those absences made it somewhat fitting that John Gaadi, rather than the regular Dele Ajiboye, was in goal. It would be Gaadi's first ever title win in an NPFL career spanning almost 15 years if (when) they claim the crown.

RIVERS WIN RELEGATION DOGFIGHT, SEND REMO DOWN
Rivers United finally won an away game, and it took all of 34 matched to do so. To put this in perspective, this time last campaign, they had won two road games and were top of the table, looking over their shoulders at eventual champions Rangers. This time, while the focus was centred on the championship race, they were at the bottom, locked in a battle for survival with the other team in the most danger.

Rivers, in 18th place, travelled to bottom side Stars and did enough to claim their first away win of the season with two first half goals from Bernard Ovoke and Emeka Ogbugh, and a second half effort from Esosa Igbinoba. Ochowechi Salifu found late consolation for Remo as they lost 3-1 and went a 10th straight game without a win.

For Rivers, it is a huge change in fortunes from last season. They will now need to hold their nerve if they are to stay up.

TRAVEL TROUBLE FOR IFEANYI UBAH FC
Ifeanyi Ubah's game at El Kanemi Warriors had to be rescheduled to Monday morning after the Anambra-based club ran into a spot of travel bother. Their scheduled morning flight to Maiduguri on Sunday was delayed until late afternoon, meaning they failed to arrive the match venue on time.

They showed few signs of fatigue when play kicked off on Monday, taking the game to the hosts initially. That was not enough though, as Chibuzor Okonkwo blasted home a free-kick and substitute Bello Kofarmata converted a penalty for a 2-0 El Kanemi win, which kept the Warriors in the hunt for a place on the continent.

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